Happy to talk about any of my films, especially the latest one, TRANCE, starring James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel.



EDIT; Sorry folks. We are trying to answer as many questions as we can, but there's some major delay. Please be patient!

EDIT II: Thank you for your questions! Sorry not to be able to answer them all. Further answers can be found in Trance, cinema near you soon. (shameless plug!)

Comments: 2161 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

Koeny1909 karma

How are the young actors from Slumdog Millionaire doing?

IAmDannyBoyle1672 karma

We saw them a couple weekends ago in Mumbai. We try and visit them at least once a year. They're in school and doing ok. Actually better than ok. They're great kids. 14 now and they're growing up fast.

daidalos5526 karma

If you could go back in time and direct any movie you want, which movie would it be?

IAmDannyBoyle1858 karma

The Beach. I would do it much better than the original guy.

RyanHickman1107497 karma

Hey Danny. I'm a huge fan of your films, and it's a pleasure to speak to you, if only via Reddit. You once said that you make films with certain musicians in mind; for example, "28 Days Later" w/ GY!BE in mind, "Trainspotting" w/ Underworld in mind, etc. What artist were you listening to when you were developing Trance?

IAmDannyBoyle745 karma

Bowie, the Low album. Unkle. And Underworld. Fortunately, Rick Smith from Underworld did the whole score for Trance and managed to incorporate these influences and more.

antonehenry439 karma

What does James Franco smell like?

IAmDannyBoyle1371 karma

Smells like teen spirit.

RedRobin13310 karma

As a director, how do you like to handle your actors? Who has been your favorite actor/actress?

IAmDannyBoyle545 karma

I was lucky to work in the theatre first, where you get a real understanding of how actors work. This is a big help in moviemaking, where you often have very little time with them. I try to have at least a week's rehearsal to let the actors settle in and pop the bubble of the last movie they were in. I encourage them to act the story out vividly, rather than 'do nothing' which is always an option, and often works on films. I'm too well brought up to pick out individual actors, but right now James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel would be in my top 3.

mistidoi271 karma


I lived in India for a couple years, and I once had a driver named Deepak in Mumbai who said that he had been your driver as well. He was an amazing gentleman, and we drove to Goa together and swam in the ocean (his first time, despite growing up by in Goa.) I just wanted to know if you remembered Deepak (and potentially his son) and collectively appreciate what a fantastic dude he was.

IAmDannyBoyle352 karma

The driver i remember was Harish. Where are you, Harish? But we moved around a lot, and there were many drivers without whom...

ISHOTJAMC258 karma

I remember watching you being interviewed on Top Gear, and saying that your Dad had this theory that a director's best film is generally their first, and that his favourite film of yours was Shallow Grave.

What I want to know is do you have a favourite, out of your films?

IAmDannyBoyle410 karma

Yes after each film my Dad saw he'd say 'Yeah, it's good, but not as good as Shallow Grave'. There is an innocence about making your first film which is like gold dust and I try and take some of that innocence into each new film I make...

CAN_ZIGZAG256 karma

If you had an unlimited budget(s)... what kind of movie(s) would you want to see come to the screen? Why are they such important stories? What is it you want to convay to the rest of the world? Thanks!

IAmDannyBoyle1182 karma

It's your ambition, not your budget that should be unlimited if you want to good work.

hatetobreakit202 karma

how do you approach blocking? will you go back and reshoot scenes if you've figured out a better way to stage something already shot?

IAmDannyBoyle355 karma

LEt the actors do as much of it as possible, don't try and fit them into schemes of your own. Or at least, let them believe that!

Staying_Anon193 karma

How do you feel the commercial and critical success of Slumdog Millionare and 127 Hours have impacted your ability to make future films?

IAmDannyBoyle423 karma

They've given freedom to pursue the stories I really want to tell. I try and keep the budgets low as well, which helps. There's no way any studio would make a film about a guy who's alone for 6 days and then cuts his arm off without the critical financial success of something like Slumdog behind it. So you have to take advantage of your success where you can.

jaccused182 karma

You've made a lot of films in a lot of different genres, what genres are you going to be exploring in your future work?

IAmDannyBoyle842 karma

I'm open to most genres. I like to play around with genre though...28 Days later was a Zombie Movie with no Zombies in it in my opinion; Slumdog was a Fairy Tale in genre terms but there are moments of real darkness in it; 127 Hours was an Action Movie about a guy who couldn't move... Trance is supposed to be a heist movie or an amnesia movie, or a femme fatale movie. but it's all of those things and none of those things really. the genre hooks are macguffins that give us a route into exploring ideas about perception, reality and madness.

ServerGeek167 karma

Where do you keep your Academy Awards at?

IAmDannyBoyle432 karma

In a shoebox, under the bed. It's very comfortable and best out of sight.

Jenkins007156 karma

I just wanted to thank you for continually giving me hope for the future of cinema. It seems to me everything you touch becomes a stunning visual masterpiece, often becoming a cornerstone in its respective genre. I suppose in the spirit of an AMA a question is in order. You're stranded on an island with three books, which do you choose?

IAmDannyBoyle228 karma

That could take all day to answer. Orwell, Dickens, Primo Levi.

jgpadgettpro125 karma

What has had the biggest impact on you that led you to filmmaking?

IAmDannyBoyle237 karma

  1. Apocalypse now.
  2. nicholas Roeg movies from Performance to Eureka. The Roeg films are a big influence on Trance. None of these films are perfect but they're interested in something much more interesting than perfection, the mystery of film...

GlitchedForLife103 karma

Hi Danny!

Firstly, I'd like to thank you so much for doing this AMA. I've really admired your work ever since I watched Slumdog Millionaire in 2008, in fact, I liked the movie so much that I did an essay about it this year for my final year of high school. It's predicted a high mark!

Anyway, here are a few questions I'd like to ask:

1) You and Anthony Dod Mantle do a lot of projects together. How did you both meet and start working with one another?

2) How hard was it to shoot in India for Slumdog Millionaire?

3) What's your favorite aspect of directing?

4) You're known for being an extremely versatile director. What genre would you like to do next that you haven't done before?

5) Finally, what is the one piece of advice you'd give to an aspiring filmmaker in order for them to produce good work?

IAmDannyBoyle211 karma

1) Anthony and I worked on 2 tiny tv movies together, shooting with small consumer cameras. We then carried this working method into 28 Days later and beyond. 2)Hard isn't the way to think of it. If you fear it, or indeed try to control it, it crushes you. But if you go with it, it delivers unimaginable riches for any filmmaker 3) the change from the crowded set to the lonely editing room 4)I've never done a musical before. shame on me. 5)never give up

Filmitforme87 karma

Hi Danny,

First of all thanks for doing the AMA, I know it may sound cliche but I am a huge fan of your collective body of work. I cannot wait to see TRANCE, psychological thrillers are the bees knees.

Recently, I rediscovered SHALLOW GRAVE and I was stunned by how much it still resonates. The shots, the minds of these characters, and the fluid chemistry between Ewan, Christopher, and Kerry made a great first feature.

What about the story truly made it important enough that you made it your first feature?

With that same cast dynamic, is there anything from SHALLOW GRAVE that echoes through in TRANCE ?

IAmDannyBoyle126 karma

triptych of characters trapped in a puzzle of their own making. Great actors. Great writing from John Hodge. Who to root for? is the key question going in and coming out.

darthpotato9483 karma

When you were 21, did you ever doubt yourself that you'd never make it in the cinema? What kind of a job would you have now if you weren't a film director? I'm a big fan, obviously, and I wish if you could tell us what was really going on in your head when you were young and enthralled by cinema. Also, what qualities of character should a person have in order to be a successful filmmaker? It seems to me that intelligence alone is not enough, if necessary at all sometimes. Sorry for the many questions but you don't get to talk to a film director of your stature every day Mr. Boyle.

IAmDannyBoyle147 karma

I think passion is as important as intelligence. you need to convince so many people to join you in the making of the film, and you need to use the power they give you to connect with your audience emotionally. Obviously you don't want to do stupid things, but whatever you do, you should believe passionately, and your audience will experience that as well.

helens7868 karma

I'm counting down the days until Trance!

  • Did you learn any interesting trivia about art auctions/art heists while making Trance?

  • Amnesia/memory loss is a classic film twist... what did you find especially challenging or fun about creating your particular take on it?

  • James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel: AWESOME cast! What did the three of them bring to the set day after day that made you excited to work with them?

IAmDannyBoyle164 karma

We attended a major auction at Sotherby's in London where people were bidding £20M for paintings! One of the auctioneers told us that the auction house keeps tabs on losing bidders (called under bidders): the people who drop out at £15M and go home with no painting, but still have lots of money to spend! The auction houses chase those people down!

Melmac180367 karma

Besides Apocalypse Now, what are other movies that have influenced your career?

From a moviegoer perspective, what pet peeves do you have about films or the film industry in general?

What can we expect from your new movie Trance?

IAmDannyBoyle143 karma

The Roeg movies that I mentioned earlier. Pet peeves - empty cups of coffee and tea which actors pretend to be drinking from.
People often say reality vs. perception. In Trance we try to challenge the vs.

Xtremeskierbfs65 karma

Would you rather fight 100 Duck sized Ewan McGregor's or one Ewan McGregor sized Duck?

IAmDannyBoyle357 karma

It's a pleasure working with any Ewan McGregor manifestation.

cdnfan8647 karma

I've noticed in several of your films that you place the main characters in fairly unconventional areas compared to the majority of films, including an isolated city, slot canyon, city slums, and in space. For your upcoming films what sort of environments would you like your characters to be interacting with?

IAmDannyBoyle91 karma

Yes, I've always been interested in the extremes of human experience. In the new film Trance, it's not a physical landscape, it's the interior of the mind, thought it's manifested as a beautiful idyllic French landscape at one point, as a secret church where all the world's stolen paintings are collected, and as a space where the character wreaks revenge on those he fears. It's in extremis where you can reveal our true natures.